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Fulfilling Canadian Permanent Resident (PR) Residency Requirements


Canadian permanent residents must fulfil specific residency requirements in order to renew their permanent resident card (PR card) every five years. In general, they must meet 730 days (two years) of residency in the five years immediately prior to submitting their PR card renewal application. This 5-year period covers time after an individual obtains permanent resident status.

Days counted towards the 730 days residency requirement are days where the permanent resident is:

  1. physically present in Canada;
  2. accompanying a Canadian citizen outside Canada who is their spouse, common-law partner;
  3. if a minor child, accompanying their Canadian parents outside Canada;
  4. temporarily outside Canada working for their Canadian employer or a federal/provincial/territorial public administration;
  5. accompanying a Canadian permanent resident spouse/common-law partner (or parent in the case of a minor child) outside Canada, and that permanent resident spouse/common-law partner or parent is temporarily outside Canada working for their Canadian employer or federal/provincial/territorial public administration; and/or
  6. referred to in regulations providing for other means of compliance.

The above outlines specific scenarios where a permanent resident’s days outside of Canada may count towards the residency requirements.

Where they are accompanying a Canadian citizen spouse/common-law partner(point b.), they must provide evidence of cohabitation, demonstrating that both the applicant permanent resident and the Canadian citizen were physically together outside of Canada during the specific time period they are claiming.

Where the permanent resident or their specific family member is employed by a Canadian business or public service administration outside of Canada (point c. or d.), specific criteria must be met. This includes:

  • the individual must be under contract to or are full-time employees of a Canadian business or public service, where the assignment outside Canada is controlled from the head office located in Canada;
  • they are assigned on a full-time basis as a term of their employment outside of Canada or contract to a position outside of Canada with the business where they are employed, an affiliated enterprise, or a client;
  • they maintain a connection to a Canadian business;
  • they are assigned on a temporary basis to the work assignment;
  • they will continue working for the employer, in Canada, after the assignment;
  • they are not employed with a Canadian business that was primarily created for the purpose of allowing a PR to satisfy their residency obligation while outside of Canada; and
  • they provide specific relevant documents/evidence to support all claims in accordance to the specific eligibility criteria.

Where none of these scenarios apply, but  a permanent resident feels that they have serious and compelling humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) consideration that should exempt them from meeting the residency obligation, they may also make a submission to the visa office to retain their permanent resident status. We highly suggest that these individuals retain an authorized professional to discuss their case, guide them through the entire process, and determine if there’s any other option that are better suited. Should H&C be the most applicable to the situation, proper steps must be taken to prepare the application in a manner specific to the assessment factors.  H&C applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Given the significance of losing permanent resident status, having a qualified professional will ensure that they are represented in the best way possible.

Note that for any permanent resident wishing to renew their PR card, the PR card application must be submitted when they are physically present in Canada. If their PR card has expired but the holder fulfils their residency requirements, then they may apply for a Permanent Residency Travel Document (PRTD) to allow them to return to Canada as a permanent resident and then apply for a PR card renewal once they are physically in Canada. While the PRTD is usually issued for one-time entry, there are circumstances where they may be issued a multiple-entry PRTD, allowing them to enter Canada multiple times while their PR card is in process.

Should they receive a negative decision from a visa office regarding their permanent resident status, they may be eligible to appeal the decision with an Immigration Appeal Division. There’s a specific time limit under which the notice of appeal must be filed. For any questions regarding PR card renewal, residency obligation appeal, citizenship requirements, exemption from physical presence in Canada, please reach out to our team at to schedule a consultation or click here.

About the Author

As a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, my skillset lies in collaborative work with my clients to achieve their immigration goals.

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